Going on a Holiday? Hold on! Have you applied for your travel visa yet?

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With this passport that we hold, as Singaporeans, we have visa-free access to more than 75% of the countries in the world!

Having travelled all around asia, it was not until yesterday when I got stuck in the airport with my partner and friends, that I was forced to realize that this privilege has caused us to become complacent.


We’ve just conveniently assumed that a Visa isn’t necessary for us, except for some really exotic countries. I mean, how can India not be included in the 75%???

I was set to be on my tour in India for DJing… and this entire trip took more than a year to be finalized.


It just felt so surreal when the customer service officer at the check-in counter told us: “Sorry, you will not be able to travel to India because you do not have a Visa.”


That took awhile to sink in…

Before we started getting all frantic and asked the staffs if there’s any way that we could fix this and still fly to India. Unfortunately, the people at Malaysia Airlines were not helpful at all and kept pushing us to the information counter instead, because they claimed that they aren’t experienced with such a situation -.-”


One would think that they would step up on their service, given the amount of mishaps with their airlines, apparently not??
Despite the ridiculous pricing (nope, they didn’t lower the fares), we received substandard service for a supposedly full fledged airline which was incapable of providing any solution at all for their customers.

They didn’t even have a notification upon booking, to remind us to get our Visa- especially when my friends booked their tickets only 3 days before the specified travel date. Technically, travel visa requires 4 days to be approved, so shouldn’t they disallow any booking unless there’s a visa already?


I guess that pretty much sums up everything, disappointing.
Perhaps, it’s a blessing in disguise, they say. 


So here I am, back at home, after dragging my “emotional” baggages back from the airport.
In order to avoid such naive and silly mistake from repeating itself, I’ve decided to share this with all of you so that you can avoid being in my footsteps (which was a truly hefty experience.)


Which exactly, are the VISA required countries?


The Singapore passport, in fact, is one of the most widely accepted in the world, offering unrestricted access to 170 countries (out of 219). It was also ranked fifth – alongside New Zealand and Switzerland – in last year’s annual global ranking based on freedom of travel.

Here are some notable countries (for a comprehensive list compiled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, click here), however, where Singaporeans still need a visa.


Singapore passport holders need to provide a letter requesting the issuance of visa, detailing the purpose of the trip and the length of stay and an International Vaccination Certificate, showing the holder’s data and page with vaccination against yellow fever.

Proof of means of subsistence (equivalent to US$200 per day of stay) is also required. Otherwise, tourists will have to provide a formal declaration of obligation from the inviting person or organisation.


A popular destination for Singaporeans, all travellers to the country need to apply an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), which is equivalent to a visa.

No stamp or label is required. The ETA is linked to your passport and accessible by airlines, travel agents and Australian border agencies. The ETA allows the holder to enter the country as many times as required within 12 months from date of issue, of up to three months per visit.


A visa application must be submitted no fewer than three business days before a traveller’s date of arrival to this landlocked Eastern European country.

It is then issued on arrival at Minsk International Airport. Seventeen countries – with varying periods of stay – enjoy visa-free entry.


The world’s most reclusive country, nestled in the Himalayas, grants unfettered access only to visitors from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives.

Singaporeans require a valid visa and must also book their holiday through a Bhutanese tour operator, who will make the necessary arrangements.


Only citizens from Bhutan, the Maldives and Nepal are exempted from visa requirements.

Those travelling to India on holiday must obtain an e-Tourist Visa (introduced last year), which is valid for 30 days. An application must be made at least four days before the date of arrival.

Marshall Islands

The island country near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, which has a population of over 60,000 spread out over more than 1,000 islands, is open only to the US and two other island nations – Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Besides the usual supporting documents, an applicant’s letter stating the purpose and duration of visit, a police record and a health clearance (both dated within the last three months) certifying that a person is free from HIV and Aids are required.


Citizens from six South-east Asian countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam) have visa-free access up to 14 days.

Singaporeans will need a visa for travel to the country. An eVisa system solely for tourism was launched last September. Singaporeans with a visa are allowed a 28-day stay but arrival must be via the airports in Mandalay, Naypyitaw or Yangon.


The guidelines for visa application for travellers from Singapore include providing a letter of invitation from a company or hotel booking confirmation which indicating the NRIC or FIN number, name and designation of the signatory.

Tourists will also have to present a copy of a recent bank statement showing a minimum credit balance of S$70 per day of stay.


Only Singaporeans or foreigners holding a Singapore Dependent pass are allowed to apply for a visa. Travel agents are not allowed to apply it on behalf of the travellers.

Pakistani hosts or sponsors will have to provide an invitation letter with their full address, signatures and copy of their Pakistani ID or passport.

Papua New Guinea

Singapore citizens are among those who are able to get a single-entry tourist or business visa upon arrival.

List of countries that are allowed visa on arrival to PNG here.

Paraguay & Venezuela

Both South American countries have strict visa policies. Venezuela, for instance, requires visitors to present proof that they have enough money to last during their stay, and documents are also needed to show the traveller’s next destination.

As there is no Paraguayan embassy in Singapore, those wishing to visit the country will need to contact the nearest embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, for more information on how to apply for one.


Singaporeans going to Russia for a holiday will have to purchase a tourist voucher, also known as Russian tourist invitation. The formal document is needed before applying for a tourist visa.

However, travellers on a specialised tour to address business issues with local partners, or going for medical consultation and medical examination will have to apply for a specific tourism visa instead.

Saudi Arabia

If you are not a citizen of a country belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and UAE), you need a visa.

The country is a popular destination for Singaporean Muslim pilgrims, who must register and apply for a separate visa through the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) when performing the annual Haj to Mecca. A new visa centre at Anson Road was set up last year to expedite the application process. Singapore’s official Haj quota is 680.


**Note: Visa on travel does not mean that you can apply for visa upon arrival at the destination. It means that you can apply online beforehand (it has to be approved online), then only can you collect your visa when you arrive. Otherwise, the ticketing counter will not issue your flight tickets for you. Do arrange your Visas 2 weeks in advance, India’s visa takes at least 4 days for approval.


If you’re travelling to India, you could also apply for visa online: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

Should you require urgent assistance to accelerate the process of your Visa application, you may also contact the Indian Embassy in Singapore: https://hcisingapore.gov.in/

Credits: http://www.straitstimes.com


Till then, India, I’ll get there.


DJ Dowager

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